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  Old  April 30th, 2004, 2:26am     #1
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Angry The Daily Collegian - Pat Tillman is not a hero: He got what was coming to him
http://www.dailycollegian.com/vnews/...e?in_archive=1


Pat Tillman is not a hero: He got what was coming to him

By Rene Gonzalez
April 28, 2004

When the death of Pat Tillman occurred, I turned to my friend who was watching the news with me and said, "How much you want to bet they start talking about him as a 'hero' in about two hours?" Of course, my friend did not want to make that bet. He'd lose. In this self-critical incapable nation, nothing but a knee-jerk "He's a hero" response is to be expected.
I've been mystified at the absolute nonsense of being in "awe" of Tillman's "sacrifice" that has been the American response. Mystified, but not surprised. True, it's not everyday that you forgo a $3.6 million contract for joining the military. And, not just the regular army, but the elite Army Rangers. You know he was a real Rambo, who wanted to be in the "real" thick of things. I could tell he was that type of macho guy, from his scowling, beefy face on the CNN pictures. Well, he got his wish. Even Rambo got shot in the third movie, but in real life, you die as a result of being shot. They should call Pat Tillman's army life "Rambo 4: Rambo Attempts to Strike Back at His Former Rambo 3 Taliban Friends, and Gets Killed."
But, does that make him a hero? I guess it's a matter of perspective. For people in the United States, who seem to be unable to admit the stupidity of both the Afghanistan and Iraqi wars, such a trade-off in life standards (if not expectancy) is nothing short of heroic. Obviously, the man must be made of "stronger stuff" to have had decided to "serve" his country rather than take from it. It's the old JFK exhortation to citizen service to the nation, and it seems to strike an emotional chord. So, it's understandable why Americans automatically knee-jerk into hero worship.
However, in my neighborhood in Puerto Rico, Tillman would have been called a "pendejo," an idiot. Tillman, in the absurd belief that he was defending or serving his all-powerful country from a seventh-rate, Third World nation devastated by the previous conflicts it had endured, decided to give up a comfortable life to place himself in a combat situation that cost him his life. This was not "Ramon or Tyrone," who joined the military out of financial necessity, or to have a chance at education. This was a "G.I. Joe" guy who got what was coming to him. That was not heroism, it was prophetic idiocy.
Tillman, probably acting out his nationalist-patriotic fantasies forged in years of exposure to Clint Eastwood and Rambo movies, decided to insert himself into a conflict he didn't need to insert himself into. It wasn't like he was defending the East coast from an invasion of a foreign power. THAT would have been heroic and laudable. What he did was make himself useful to a foreign invading army, and he paid for it. It's hard to say I have any sympathy for his death because I don't feel like his "service" was necessary. He wasn't defending me, nor was he defending the Afghani people. He was acting out his macho, patriotic crap and I guess someone with a bigger gun did him in.
Perhaps it's the old, dreamy American thought process that forces them to put sports greats and "larger than life" sacrificial lambs on the pedestal of heroism, no matter what they've done. After all, the American nation has no other role to play but to be the cheerleaders of the home team; a sad role to have to play during conflicts that suffer from severe legitimacy and credibility problems.
Matters are a little clearer for those living outside the American borders. Tillman got himself killed in a country other than his own without having been forced to go over to that country to kill its people. After all, whether we like them or not, the Taliban is more Afghani than we are. Their resistance is more legitimate than our invasion, regardless of the fact that our social values are probably more enlightened than theirs. For that, he shouldn't be hailed as a hero, he should be used as a poster boy for the dangerous consequences of too much "America is #1," frat boy, propaganda bull. It might just make a regular man irrationally drop $3.6 million to go fight in a conflict that was anything but "self-defense." The same could be said of the unusual belief of 50 percent of the American nation that thinks Saddam Hussein was behind Sept. 11. One must indeed stand in awe of the amazing success of the American propaganda machine. It works wonders.
Al-Qaeda won't be defeated in Afghanistan, even if we did kill all their operatives there. Only through careful and logical changing of the underlying conditions that allow for the ideology to foster will Al-Qaeda be defeated. Ask the Israelis if 50 years of blunt force have eradicated the Palestinian resistance. For that reason, Tillman's service, along with that of thousands of American soldiers, has been wrongly utilized. He did die in vain, because in the years to come, we will realize the irrationality of the War on Terror and the American reaction to Sept. 11. The sad part is that we won't realize it before we send more people like Pat Tillman over to their deaths.
Rene Gonzalez is a UMass graduate student.

Last edited by fanofnyrangers; April 30th, 2004 at 6:41am.

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  Old  April 30th, 2004, 2:31am     #2
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UMass president rips student column on Tillman
http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/200....ap/index.html

AMHERST, Mass. (AP) -- A University of Massachusetts graduate student who wrote a campus newspaper column saying former NFL player Pat Tillman was not a hero for being killed while fighting in Afghanistan was sharply criticized Thursday by the school's president.

UMass president Jack Wilson issued a statement saying Rene Gonzalez' comments in The Daily Collegian "are a disgusting, arrogant and intellectually immature attack on a human being who died in service to his country."

In his column, which ran Wednesday on the opinion page and was posted on the newspaper's Web site, Gonzalez called the former Arizona Cardinals safety a "G.I. Joe guy who got what was coming to him."

"That was not heroism," Gonzalez wrote. "It was prophetic idiocy."

His column also criticizes America's military response to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Tillman, the San Jose, Calif., native who gave up his NFL career to join the Army Rangers in 2002, was killed in combat April 22 in Afghanistan.

While recognizing Gonzalez' right to free speech, Wilson said the student owes Tillman a "debt of gratitude," and said he should apologize to Tillman's friends and family.

Jared Nokes, president of the Student Government Association, also issued a statement condemning Gonzalez' column.

Gonzalez did not respond to telephone and e-mail messages left Thursday by The Associated Press.

In a response to the controversy generated by the column, the paper's editorial board ran a letter to readers in Thursday's edition saying Gonzalez's views do not reflect The Collegian's opinion.

"We do not hold back from printing news stories, columns or editorials that may upset our readership -- instead, we seek to both inform and stir debate through our publication," the letter said. "Our decision to publish Gonzalez' column -- an opinion piece written by a member of our campus community -- is the only way for us to live up to this ideal."

Last edited by fanofnyrangers; April 30th, 2004 at 6:46am.

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  Old  April 30th, 2004, 7:43am     #3
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I know I am going to get bombarded for this one. But the first story does make some sense to me. I'm sure that Tillman went over with honorable, if not misguided intentions. He deserves our respect because he thought he was doing what was right. Anyone that does that deserves respect It takes guts to write what Gonzales did too. Heaven help anyone that writes critically about the war.

The "Rambo" mentality in this country runs amok. Hereos are no longer the people who stand behind the disenfranchised, the poor, the disadvantaged, they are people who kill. I find that sad, very sad.
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  Old  April 30th, 2004, 11:25am     #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dandylin
I know I am going to get bombarded for this one. But the first story does make some sense to me. I'm sure that Tillman went over with honorable, if not misguided intentions. He deserves our respect because he thought he was doing what was right. Anyone that does that deserves respect It takes guts to write what Gonzales did too. Heaven help anyone that writes critically about the war.

The "Rambo" mentality in this country runs amok. Hereos are no longer the people who stand behind the disenfranchised, the poor, the disadvantaged, they are people who kill. I find that sad, very sad.
he was hunting al-queda. does that make him rambo? or misguided?
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  Old  April 30th, 2004, 11:29am     #5
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No, not necessarily, but the mentality of our violent society feeds into it.
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  Old  April 30th, 2004, 11:31am     #6
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Rene Gonzalez and all like her are what is wrong with this country.
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  Old  April 30th, 2004, 11:35am     #7
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Originally Posted by pechuna
Rene Gonzalez and all like her are what is wrong with this country.
So if everyone were just like you...everything would be sunshine and roses? I think we need all "types" of people to get an accurate picture.
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  Old  April 30th, 2004, 11:37am     #8
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Originally Posted by pechuna
Rene Gonzalez and all like her are what is wrong with this country.
================================================

very true statement pechuna
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  Old  April 30th, 2004, 11:47am     #9
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I wonder what this graduate student's major is? I hope it is not journalism.

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  Old  April 30th, 2004, 11:48am     #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pechuna
Rene Gonzalez and all like her are what is wrong with this country.
I don't know that I necessarily agree with this. We are, after all, allowed our opinions. That's part of what's right with this country. Those who don't agree with that are either in the minority and tired of being picked on, or in the majority and tired of not having everyone else blindly agree to their way of thinking.

That said, I do not agree with Gonzalez' opinion that "he got what was coming to him". At the same time, though, I absolutely do not believe Tillman should be called a hero because he gave up a lucrative football contract to go to Iraq. He's a hero just like all the other men and women who fought, continue to fight, or were killed. Those other men and women may not have given up the money that Tillman did, but they certainly gave up their friends and families knowing what the consequences of their decision could be. I can't even imagine how difficult a choice that must have been, but in this day it's great to see people taking on some personal responsibility (instead of say, hiring a lawyer to get them out of it).
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  Old  April 30th, 2004, 12:04pm     #11
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I wonder what this graduate student's major is? I hope it is not journalism.
I believe I read that his undergrad major was African-American Music and Jazz Studies.
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  Old  April 30th, 2004, 12:10pm     #12
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I believe I read that his undergrad major was African-American Music and Jazz Studies.
Wow, how relevant... makes him quite the expert on military and political affairs... it's no wonder this college invited him to comment. :rolleyes:
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  Old  April 30th, 2004, 12:18pm     #13
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Wow, how relevant... makes him quite the expert on military and political affairs... it's no wonder this college invited him to comment. :rolleyes:
:laugh: :laugh:
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  Old  April 30th, 2004, 1:20pm     #14
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I think that was a very disrespectful article by Rene Gonzalez. Every soldier that falls in battle is a hero. :worry:
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  Old  April 30th, 2004, 4:36pm     #15
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He who hasn't carried a rifle in the service of our great country should just say thank you or shut the F up!
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